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- Well-built European design
- Segment best interior quality
- Powerful diesel engine
Could be Better
- Limited rear legroom
- Noisy diesel engine
- Low resale value
The Ameo was developed off the Polo as VW's first India-spec car to participate in the compact sedan race. Its selling price is lesser than the Vento, while providing the same solid European design, high quality interior with excellent fit and finish and high speed stability. What lets it down though is the aftersales service experience, cramped rear seat and odd-looking boot section.
The Volkswagen Ameo is one of the most underrated cars on sale currently. It is a sub-4-metre sedan, which means it goes up against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, the Honda Amaze and the Ford Aspire. And that is no easy task. No wonder, it isn’t flying off the shelves. But is that reason enough to avoid it? We don’t think so. In fact, we feel, it might have a few aces up its sleeve...
So, here’s a quick rundown on what’s good and what’s not, about the Volkswagen Ameo, because we feel it would be good to have it in your consideration list.
1. Build quality
All you have to do is close the doors on the Ameo to know how solid it is. And inside, the fit all around, the way the dials and the buttons operate, and even the look and the feel of plastic - the steering in particular - leaves you with the feeling of a car that’s built to last. But we won’t exactly call the interiors plush.
2. Driver centric
The seating position, particularly for the driver is spot on. The seat is adjustable for reach and recline, as well as height. And then the steering too adjusts itself for rake and reach. As a result, it’s easy to find the right driving position.
The driver has good visibility too. The A-pillar isn’t too thick, the dash isn’t very high, and the glass section in the C pillar just makes it easier to spot trouble when changing lanes or joining on to the main road.
The Ameo has one of the most powerful Diesel engines in its class. No wonder it accelerates to 100kmph in just a little over 10 seconds. It is significantly quicker than the Dzire, in case you were wondering.
The engine is a 1.5-litre diesel. It makes almost 110bhp and 250Nm of torque. And this torque comes in early, at 1500rpm. So unless you drop to 1000rpm or lower, the Ameo pulls like a train! And it doesn’t sound too bad when revved either. What’s more, it still managed to return over 14kmpl in our city test.
This one here is mated to a 5-speed manual. And it is a lovely shifting manual as well. Short throws, precise shifts, and the shifter fall easily to the hand as well.
4. Driving dynamics
Volkswagen has always got the dynamics of its car right. The Ameo, even with its shortened boot, is no different. For starters, the steering, though heavy, is precise, quick and talkative. And when you turn into a corner, the front end bites, the car doesn’t roll much, and there’s no dramatic understeer either.
It’s also planted in a straight line, which is good because it gets to three-digit speeds in such a hurry, that most of the time you don’t even realise you are there. Brakes again, have good bite and feel.
5. Multimedia system
Ameo’s multimedia system isn’t anything exotic, we will give you that. But, it’s the touch interface that has us completely floored. The response, the lack of delay, and the exactness of the system makes it lovely to use.
And of course, there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well. Now, I am no expert in the realm of sound quality, but I think this system does well in that regard as well. It plays my Punjabi playlist at a high volume without cracking or destroying my eardrums, and it has a good voice control.
The Ameo has an acceptable wheelbase for its class. But, it is narrower and not as tall as its competitors. Also, the space utilisation inside isn’t the best in its segment. So, not only does it have a comparatively smaller boot, but it also loses out on useable legroom and headroom compared to its competition.
2. After-sales perception
Whether you are a Volkswagen owner or not, the general perception is that the after-sales service for the brand is no good.
Surely there can’t be smoke without fire, so there’s some truth in that, of course. Something VW agrees to as well and says it is working hard to correct. Has it done it yet? I am not so sure. But, it would certainly be worth looking into.
So there you have it, the good and the bad of the Volkswagen Ameo in a nutshell.
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